While to most of us, the Great Barrier Reef is priceless, a new report has calculated its value.
Deloitte Access Economics was commissioned to carry out the six-month study by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation charity — and it has valued the reef at A$56bn (around £33bn) based on its total ‘economic, social and icon value’.
The report says that the World Heritage site contributes A$6.4bn to Australia’s economy, is worth A$29bn to tourism and A$3.2bn to divers and other recreational users.
The authors of the study also give the reef a ‘brand value’ of A$24bn — based around Australians who have not visited the reef but value knowing it exists.
The research showed that the Great Barrier Reef supported over 64,000 jobs in the Australian economy in 2015–16, including 33,000 in Queensland. While most of these were in the tourism sector, there were also important economic contributions from fishing, recreational and scientific activities.
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Director Steve Sargent said: “Like the Great Barrier Reef itself, the numbers revealed in the report are big and highlight just how significant the Reef’s contribution to Australia’s economy is.
“As the largest living structure on Earth and one of the world’s most complex and diverse natural ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef is justifiably considered priceless and irreplaceable.
“Alongside its important environmental and ecological function, this report demonstrates that the Reef also offers substantial value to Australia and the world in terms of the economic activity it generates and the employment and experiences it supports across the tourism, fishing, recreation and scientific industries.
“At $56 billion, the reef is valued at more than 12 Sydney Opera Houses!
“This report sends a clear message that the Great Barrier Reef — as an ecosystem, as an economic driver, as a global treasure — is too big to fail.”